Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was written more than 50 years ago. Books written more than 20 years ago have a very different style. Sci-fi books written in the past can sometimes be a bit of a comical read, so when I was reading it (to review), I took all these things into consideration. The important thing I wanted to get out of reading this book was to see if this book  could past the test of time.

Fahrenheit 451 is set in the future where knowledge has been cast aside and outlawed. The government regime is about making people happy; things like poetry and plays can get people upset; they don't want that. Ignorance is bliss and so books are burnt. People are brainwashed.

Guy Montag is a firefighter. He doesn't put out fires. He starts them. When there is a call out, Montag and his co-workers jump down a golden pole, put on their kerosene packs and set off to burn books. However one night, Montag is traumatised when an old lady refused to leave her burning house and gets burnt alive. It began the seed of doubt of whether or not what he was doing was right.

As I was reading the book, there were resemblances to A Canticle for Leibowitz  in the sense that it is set in the future and knowledge is discarded. The writing style is very dream like, as it almost seems to skip parts which made it hard for me to follow at certain times. There isn't a lot of meat to the book. The bases of the book is very interesting, but I wanted more detail and more character development.

Does this book stand the test of time? I think Ray Bradbury does a good job of portraying what the future might hold and the philosophy and ethics behind the book are interesting but I'm not sure if it is worth recommending to others. The book is short at 147 pages long, so a days reading would suffice. I think if you haven't read A Canticle for Leibowitz then this book is a good place to start, but if you already have...then maybe not.


David Powers King said...

This is certainly one of my favorites. A well put review.

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